Mansfield Historical Society

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1 NEWSLETTER T h i s p r o j e c t w a s m a d e, i n p a r t, b y a g r a n t f r o m t h e C i t y o f M a n s f i e l d September 2016 Officers President Vicki Collins Vice President Marty Thomas Mansfield Historical Society Secretary Doris Maxwell Treasurer Marilyn Gerloff Directors Brenda Sells Edna Phillips Faye Rydell Advisory Directors Dee Davey Darryl Haynes Mike Leyman Raymond Meeks, Atty Museum Manager Vern Raven Editors Marilyn Gerloff Vern Raven Inside this issue: Juanita Gray 1 Gary, cont d 2 Linda Leddy 3 Annual Luncheon 3 Gifts, Donations, Memorials Best Maid Products, Tree of Life, Kroger 4 5 Friends of the Museum 6 Juanita Gray Juanita Lindsey was born in Rockwall, Texas on August 20, Her parents were John Boyd Lindsey and Delia Apple Lindsey. The only sibling that we know of is, brother, James W. Lindsey who lived in Joshua, TX. Her real name was Johnnie Almeda Monica Lindsey, but when she started performing, she changed it to Juanita Lindsey. The family moved to Chickasha, OK when she was 2 years old. The Lindsey s were a musical family. Her father was a carpenter who played the coronet with John Phillip Sousa s band. At the age of 3, she sang at the State Fair of Texas. At some point during this period, her family moved to the Fort Worth area. At 11 years old, she became a paid member of the Harley Saddler Repertoire Company, a traveling tent show that brought melodramas to small communities. Her petite frame, 5 ft 1 in, was an advantage when she tried out for the George White Scandals. The producer needed Indian boys to walk over a water fall in this lavish copy of the Ziegfeld Follies. She worked at Woolworths and Kresses department stores in the music departments, singing from sheet music for sale. In 1926 while in Chicago with this production, she read that Weaver Gray was performing with the Sparks Circus in Indiana. They married in Statesboro, Ga in At age 29, her husband taught her how to ride a horse and trick riding. She learned a jumping horse act, and a shooting act. They both performed in many circuses and appeared in two John Wayne westerns,at Atlantic City, and in the Hoot Gibson Show in Dallas. When the depression hit, they were lucky to make $2 a day. Mansfield was their permanent home from 1930 to early 1950s. During the depression years, 1930s, they performed on Smith Street behind Main Street stores for a loaf of bread or a can of tomatoes, and the merchants might give them a quarter. They rented the Larkin farm for $6 a month. In 1937, they sent letters to promote their acts to rodeos, and they received many replies. They had one horse and a Model A Ford, and with help from friends were able to purchase more horses and a trailer. Juanita went to the Ft Worth city pound and picked out a dog and named him Skippy. In 1974, when the Fort Worth Star Telegram published an article on her, she still had 2 show dogs with her. Continued page 2

2 NEWSLETTER Page 2 Juanita Gray continued They covered the U.S. from coast to coast and Canada. They appeared with Montie Montana and Tom Mix. She knew Roy Rogers and Gene Autry before they were famous. While in Vivian, La. working on a show, Gene Autry and Smiley Burnett were working the next town, then they all traveled to Baton Rouge, La, for a rodeo at LSU. Rodeo Ben was a tailor who began making western costumes out of gabardine. In 1933, Juanita bought her western outfit for $45 from Rodeo Ben. Rodeo Ben became famous for making fancy western outfits for many stars. She and Weaver had been performing for the Million Dollar Pier (a big Wild West Show) in Atlantic City, N.J. From 1940 to 1951, Juanita was contracted as the trick rider for the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo. At the age of 56, Juanita won the women s flat race at Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo. She said they finished one rodeo at 9PM and drove on to the next rodeo arriving by the 1PM performance the next day. In 1952, Weaver fell from his horse while working on a new rope trick. The fall injured his back and ended his roping days. They managed a movie theatre in Broken Bow, OK for the next 12 years until Weaver was diagnosed with cancer. In 1966, they came back to Mansfield where Weaver died in Juanita married Jack McCracken, who was a well-known horseman and an inductee in the Cowboy Hall of Fame. He passed 2 years later. Juanita was living at Mansfield Nursing Home when she passed on November 18, Juanita and Weaver are buried in the Mansfield, TX Cemetery. Several people in town still remember Juanita as a petite, older lady, with a huge car, and she always had little dogs with her. She was member of First Baptist Church. Juanita was among the first members of the Rodeo Cowboy Association. She was number 54 and Weaver was number 55. On her 50th birthday, RCA gave her a lifetime membership. James Weaver Gray was born in 1892 in Fort Sill, Okla. Weaver s brother, Bee Ho Gray, was a World Champion Trick Roper. Weaver did rope tricks and trained the little dog, Skippy, to jump through loops with him. Skippy was a very popular act at the rodeos. Weaver and Bee-Ho grew up in Oklahoma Indian Territory among one of the famous Indian Chiefs, Quanah Parker. Juanita shared her photos, awards, and other mementos with various museums including: Ponca City, OK, Lawton, OK, Pawnee, OK, Cheyenne, WY, Laramie, WY, Colorado Springs, CO, National Museum of American History, History of American Sports Collection, Smithsonian Institute, Washington DC, and the Mansfield Museum and Heritage Center, TX Some of the companies they worked for were: Fort Worth SW Exposition and Fat Stock Show, State Fair of Texas, Downie Bros. Circus, Miller Brothers 101 Wild West Show, Pawnee Bill s Wild West Show, Pecos, TX July 4 th Rodeo (1944), Corsicana, TX Rodeo, Cleburne, TX Rodeo, Shriner s Circus, Cheyenne, WY - Frontier Days Rodeo, New Orelans La Rodeo (1944), Baton Rouge, La LSU Rodeo, Macon, Ga Circus (1931), Cheyenne, Wy Frontier Days Rodeo ( ), Burwell, Neb Rodeo, Pendelton, OR - Round-Up, (managed bookings in 1950s), and Atlantic City, NJ - Million Dollar Pier (1940s) If you have information about Juanita Gray, please share it with us to add to our family files at the museum.

3 MEMBER/VOLUNTEER Linda Leddy, member and volunteer at the museum, has lived in Mansfield for 38 years. She never intended on staying. She and husband, David and two children moved here from Abilene in David Leddy owned a HVAC business. Through the years Linda has been very involved in the community, PTA, Women s Division of the Chamber, Meals-on-Wheels, and Trinity Presbyterian Church. Following the death of husband, in 2012 she became a weekly volunteer at the museum and for the special events. In 1997, the Leddys bought the former residence of Beryl Gibson. She has many interesting stories to tell about living in the house, especially the old newspapers that lined the attic. Recently, Linda sold this house and downsized to a new townhouse, Craftsman style, on Alvarado Street. SAVE THE DATE Saturday, October 15, 2016 MHS Annual Luncheon and Meeting will be held at the old Mansfield High School Great Room, formerly known as the Study Hall. Entertainment will be provided by local musicians who will play several favorite country and western tunes for us. Faye Rydell and her committee will handle all of the arrangements. Food will be catered by Cotton Patch. Tickets are $25 each. Please make your reservation by Wednesday of that week for food preparation. To purchase tickets, go by the museum or call to make reservations. We accept cash, checks, and credit cards except American Express. CALENDAR AUGUST OCTOBER Tour from Watercrest Yard Sale cancelled till Spring Tour from Karate of Mansfield Annual Luncheon 15th Haunt the Block, ghost SEPTEMBER Tours 5 PM 8 PM Wurstfest 10th NOVEMBER Third Thursday 15th Hart House ornament goes on sale 20th Page 3

4 Page 4 Donations, Gifts, Memorials ~~~From the family of John Paul Ballweg: a pair of beaded Indian gloves that were given to him by local Indians when he lived in Montana. John Paul Ballweg died August 2016 near Kansas City where he lived for many years. He was an active horseman and died when he fell while breaking a horse at 93 years old. ~~~ From the family of John C. Collier, his personal Bible copyright 1872 and DVD with extensive family genealogy documentation. John Collier was the founder of Mansfield Male and Female College founded in ~~~From the Hart family, Jim Hart is lending a sketching of the Hart House, sketched by Elna Hall. ~~~ In Memory of Jimmie Stewart by Doris Maxwell In Memory of Don Kindler by Doris Maxwell In Memory of Doris Turner Seeton by Doris Maxwell In Memory of John Paul Ballweg by Greg & Vickie McDonald, Shannon & Theresa Corley, Cathleen & James Osbourne, Candice & John Teagarden, Deborah & Steve DeBusk, Kenneth & Barbara McDonald, Pat Gazewood In Memory of Sonny Wooten by Doris Maxwell ~~~ Donation from Mansfield Women s Club $250 JIM STEWART Mr. Mansfield was the title the speakers at his funeral gave Jimmie Stewart. He was so passionate about his community. Jimmie M. Stewart was born in Mansfield in 1942 and passed after a lengthy illness on August 24, The speakers were: Tarrant County D.A., Sharen Wilson, Roy English, Darrel Rayburn, Mayor David Cook, and Dr. Billy Taylor who officiated his service. The music was performed by Wesley King and Joseph Neely Reynolds. Jim graduated from Mansfield High School in He attended Paris Junior College and East Texas State University. He taught and coached for 14 years before he began his career at Tarrant County. He initially worked in the county department handling Right-of-Way issues and transactions, and worked his way up to become the head of the Tarrant County Transportation Department. Jim was a life time member of Mansfield Historical Society. He helped us out many, many times with building maintenance issues. He knew all of the right people to call to get the job done. J.T. SPEARS James Theodore Spears passed on august 25, Mr. Spears attended our Annual Luncheon every year, driving from Azle. He was 86 years old. He will be buried in the Mansfield Cemetery. We will miss seeing him next month at the luncheon. HARRY D. ARBER Harry Arber was an active member when I joined the Historical Society. He was so full of energy and ideas. Born on April 22, 1931, in Mansfield, he passed on May 7, 2016, and is buried In the Mansfield Cemetery. Don Miller officiated his service. Harry moved back to Mansfield from Houston after he retired.

5 NEWSLETTER Page 5 GIFT SHOP - tax included Best Maid Products, Inc. Celebrates 90 years! The Mansfield Historical Society sends best wishes to Best Maid Products, Inc. to commemorate their 90th anniversary. A new label was added to their products marking the 90th Anniversary. As most Mansfield residents know, the Best Maid pickles and mayonnaise began here in the home of Mildred and Jessie Otis Dalton. It began with pies made in Mildred s kitchen and sold at the small Dalton grocery store. The egg yolks left over from the pie dough was used to make mayonnaise. Soon this product became the best seller in the store. The sandwich spread was added using pickle relish. But, when the price of pickle relish increased, Mildred and Jessie planted their own cucumbers. Of course, next came the famous Best Maid pickles, dill slices, and other varieties of pickles. In 1926,the company s production business was established in east Fort Worth and trucks were delivering small quantities of their products to grocery stores and selling single jars from these trucks. Today, their grandchildren and great grandchildren continue to manage and operate the large manufacturing facility on Riverside Drive in Fort Worth. Dalton family members have been very supportive of the Mansfield Historical Society and are Life Time members. Congratulations! to a local family run business, and their product is made in the USA. ********************************************************** Book, History of Mansfield $74.69 Book, Historic Resource $10.83 Caps/Visors $10.83 Color Book, History of $3.00 Cookbook, Mansfield $21.65 Throw/afghan $59.54 KROGER REWARDS $$ 1. Visit 2. Sign into your online account, or create one 3. Find and select our organization, and click Save Non Profit Organization # Mansfield Historical Society New Members WELCOME! Melvin and Carol Cooper TREE OF LIFE $125 Leafs In Memory of Charlie Milton Farr By Edna Phillips $250 Leafs In Memory of Edgar & Elva Renfro Otis & Mollie Hall Roger Dean Hall Fred H. Hall Lee & Ysleta Hall Ron & Gwyn Hall Donna & Larry Parrish Nellie Hall Ramsey By Jerry Hall

6 M a n s f i e l d H i s t o r i c a l S o c i e t y N. M a i n S t r e e t M a n s f i e l d, T X Open Tues Sat 9:00 5:00 P h o n e : E m a i l : m a n s f i e l d m u s e u s b c g l o b a l. n e t F a c e b o o k : M a n s f i e l d H i s t o r i c a l M u s e u m & H e r i t a g e C e n t e r www. M a n s f i e l d h i s t o r y. o r g MARK YOUR CALENDAR: Annual Meeting & Luncheon October 15th & Haunt the Block October 20th Friends of the Museum By Julie Crisafulli October is coming up soon! Last year the museum hosted ghost tours during Historic Mansfield s Haunt the Block event. It was hugely popular mixing history and ghost stories from all around Mansfield. This year the Friends of the Museum will be hosting the ghost tours as a fundraiser for the museum. We are going to make it bigger and better! We are looking for volunteer tour guides, help at the check in table, and docents to stay inside the museum during the tours. If you are interested or have a volunteer in mind, contact Julie Crisafulli at or Vern Raven at or by phone at for more information or to join!